The US currently has over half a million covid-19 cases and over 19,000 deaths with over 2,000 casualties in the last 24 hours. The US was spending on health was a whopping 3.5 trillion dollars (twice more than any developed country) in 2017 which was 18% of its GDP. The Federal government contributed 1.5 trillion dollars which was almost 8% of its budget.
According to OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development), the per capita spending of the US is over 10,000 dollars. However, despite having the highest healthcare budget, much of the cost is not publicly financed but comes from personal expenditure and those related to private health insurance.
In comparison, a country like Norway (whose per capita expenditure is almost 6000 dollars) has socialised much of their medicine. The surplus from oil derivatives is used by Norway to finance much of its social medicine and expenditure through its government pension fund.
The US spends more on defence than China, Russia, UK, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Bharat put together. The data published by International Institute Of Strategic Studies shows US military spending at over 725 billion dollars in 2020. “Yes we spend a lot on defence but is it too much?” Michael E.’O Hanlon of Brookings institute counters. He further elaborates “one of the reasons the defence budget is so large is that we expect our military to do many things at once. The 2018 National Defence Strategy envisions being able to conduct several missions simultaneously: maintain a strong nuclear deterrent, protect the homeland from attack by missiles, aircraft, terrorists and others, Defeat China or Russia in conventional combat and deter Korea while doing so; and sustain momentum on the war on terror.”
Hanlong and his team would have never comprehended that the greatest superpower on this globe, a country which thought it had all corners covered with its vast deployment of ICBMs, missiles, nukes, warships, nuclear shields, stealth bombers and what have you would be brought down on its knees by a zoonotic virus emanating from its rival without firing a single shot.
A country with such a wide array of nuclear and conventional weapons which have been accumulated over the past half a decade and are capable of destroying the whole world many times over but does not have enough ventilators to save its dying. America just has 60,000 ventilators for the 50 States and these States are grappling with each other and with the federal government to get a hand on them.
The lack of coordination between the states and the federal government was clearly visible earlier but things seem to be settling down as of now. New York has been the most badly hit with over 7800 deaths and Democrat governor Andrew Cuomo rubbed the President the wrong way as he thanked the Chinese firm Alibaba for providing 300,000 masks which were transported by a special flight arranged by Robert Croft of New England Patriots and NFL owner.
In fact, nothing is going right for America as cases flared up in Detroit, Massachusetts and Louisiana. America currently has more than 473,000 cases with more than 17,800 deaths already from the killer virus. The spike in New Orleans, Louisiana has been attributed to the “Mardi Gras” parade in the last week of February which was an occasion for social embracing rather than social distancing.
The biggest superpower along with the world is fighting a different battle and an invisible enemy for which ventilators, testing kits and N95 masks are the fighting tools and doctors, health workers, nurses and the support staff are the army.
Dr Farzad Mostashari, CEO of Aledade Inc and former national health coordinator for health iT said he saw a spike in cases in New York as early as March 4 which according to him were smoke alarms and needed an immediate investigation. He said his warnings were not heeded to. According to Dr Farzad the data is already there and needs to be investigated on a regular basis.
Dr Siddharth Mukherjee, Executive producer of “The Gene”, says that President Trump should step on to the White House podium wearing a mask and urge all Americans to wear one. President Trump underestimated the threat perception from the virus and ignored the early warnings from his advisors in the White House, feels the Bharatiya origin doctor.
But the other side of the story is as significant as like in Italy and Spain. Social bonding on weekends with elders is a way of life in America and the country could not have been under lockdown mode all at once as it could have had emotional repercussions for the aged and the ailing more so because more than 70% of the population is over the age of 50.
“There was a likelihood of full blown pandemic according to a white House memo in February. It warned millions could be threatened. Carl Cameron Former chief white house correspondent says that South Korea and America had their first COVID-19 case on the same date but South Korea locked down immediately and America is still not under total lockdown. With Easter coming up there could still be gatherings at the churches which could result in another spike of the already increasing cases. But as Dr. Anthony Fauci (Director, National institute of Allergy & infectious diseases) urged the Americans, this is not the time to back away from social distancing as it is showing results. According to Dr Fauci ‘Antibody testing is just weeks away.’ He says Antibody tests will be available very soon.”
According to Dr. Fauci, despite the progress (in flattening the curve), it is not the time to be pulling back at all. As the death toll mounts in the US, Trump is feeling the heat and has rightly lashed out at the WHO for being China centric and has threatened to cut the funding to the world body whose shoddy handling of the pandemic under its Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been criticised the world over.
Trump has been outspoken in his criticism of the WHO which as a world heath body has totally failed in its objective of warning the world of the looming danger from the lethal virus under its Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The president was spot on when he labelled the organisation as China centric under its current DG Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who is widely believed to have toed the Chinese line withholding vital information and endangering the lives of millions in the world with over one lakh deaths already.
The US funds more than 25% of WHO’s total funding and has a legitimate reason to be offended by WHO’s (read Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus) leaning towards China. America is the oldest democracy in the world and it is imperative for the world that America bounces back sooner than later from this China inflicted pandemic.
Only America has the economic and military muscle to take on the hegemony of China and its stooges. The pandemic has wrecked havoc in Europe. Apart from the death toll which is now more than 60,000 in Europe, the economic fallout has been tremendous. The former NATO allies in Europe are looking towards America for moral and economic support. Thus, the world needs America to recover from the Covid-19 menace at the earliest and take the lead in devising strategies to keep the nefarious designs of China at bay.
With Russia playing an increasingly more neutral role which is deemed to favour China, it is imperative that a new world order is created to counter the growing Chinese dominance and their perchance to control world bodies like the WHO. The oldest and the largest democracies can be the torch bearers in this herculean task to shrug off the clout of China.
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